However, let's look outside your own personal gain for a moment. Gold buying can have a seriously negative impact on the
server economy and on the game in general. A fairly stable auction house can be destabilised by the introduction of
people with a lot of money to burn, leading to a form of hyper-inflation where prices rise and rise because money is,
quite literally, cheap. People start listing items at incredibly high prices because they know the gold buyers won't
think twice about buying them, and those who cannot afford to buy gold -- or who choose not to -- have to work twice as
hard for their loot. Additionally, the gold farmers supplying the industry don't buy items, but hoard their
cash--breaking the game economy which is designed for gold to be spent as much as it's obtained.
the AH, gold buying has other knock-on effects in PvP and similar situations. Players with top-end (bought) gear for
their level can best others in combat -- provided they have the skills to match their items -- purely because they have
more money outside the game. This destroys the equalising ability of the virtual world, defeating the point for many
Additionally, probably the most important thing to consider is Blizzard's Terms of Service, which state:
"No one has the right to "sell" Blizzard Entertainment's content, except Blizzard
Entertainment! So Blizzard Entertainment does not recognize any property claims outside of World of Warcraft or the
purported sale, gift or trade in the "real world" of anything related to World of Warcraft. Accordingly, you
may not sell items for "real" money or exchange items outside of World of Warcraft."
Several accounts have purportedly been suspended for buying gold, so Blizzard take the issue seriously, although not
seriously enough to clamp down on the entire secondary market.
Finally, we'll not go into this in much
depth, but supporting the gold farmer industry is seen as a bad thing by many players and individuals, thanks to its
dubious practices which include sweatshop-like working conditions out of game -- and rare item camping in-game --
amongst many other things.
While we don't wish to dictate how players choose to use their own cash and how
they play their own characters, it's interesting comparing gold buyers to other players. I recently spoke to a player
who proudly showed off her epic mount and armour set, and I openly admired her dedication and skill. She promptly
admitted she'd bought gold and had never run a single endgame instance -- wanting to appear "the best"
without putting in the effort herself, she merely laid on a facade of appearing experienced. A casual inspection ingame
would mark her up as a player who clearly knows her stuff, and if she ever gets invited to an instance she will
immediately stand out as a gold buyer and be shunned by the party once her lack of knowledge becomes clear, so she has
achieved her goal at a price. Also, it seems that the level of satisfaction you can get from admiring your epic items
is much greater if you worked for them for weeks ingame.
Ultimately, there's no major harm in buying 100g
at level 40 to pay for your mount rather than spending ten hours grinding mobs or playing the AH, but be very careful
if you choose to buy gold, and bear in mind that selfish use of huge amounts of gold does affect other players and may
damage your reputation in the long run. If you want to buy gold, you'll find plenty of sites online that sell it; if
you want to help the campaign against gold selling, watch out for players that seem too well kitted out for their
apparent skill level, and support sites like nogold.org. There are other ways to
make money in-game and various websites offer guides to how to
make anything from 10 to 100 gold an hour legitimately, if you're the farming type.